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Are Facebook ads worth it?

Advertising on Facebook isn’t hard, but knowing how to do it the right way takes time, effort and intuition to be successful. You don’t want to throw your money away by blindly boosting posts at will — there’s no strategy involved there, and the impact on your business will be limited. By having a solid understanding of Facebook’s advertising platform, you can take advantage of its plethora of tools to help you make the most out of your social media marketing efforts.

Let’s start with the fundamentals. Facebook ads are divided into three main categories: awareness, consideration and conversion. Within each grouping are different kinds of ads you can run on a Facebook page. If you haven’t already noticed, this layout follows the flow of your typical marketing and sales funnel (only optimized for social media).

AWARENESS ADS:

  • Brand awareness – Increases awareness for your brand by showing ads to those most likely to be interested.

  • Reach – Shows your ad to the maximum number of people within a given budget.

Awareness ads should do exactly what the name implies – increase brand awareness. These objectives are meant to get your ads in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Since they’re at the top of the “funnel”, it comes as no surprise these ads are often the cheapest to run; they focus on impressions and reach as the most important metrics. But these ads aren’t necessarily as beneficial as others (we’ll get to those in a minute). For example, a $50 reach ad may get your content in front of a few thousand people, but you’re less likely to achieve engagements, leads or conversions… Oh, the joys of navigating Facebook’s algorithm!

CONSIDERATION ADS:

  • Traffic – Increases traffic to a particular website, app, or messenger conversation.

  • Engagement – Increases post engagements such as likes, comments and shares.

  • App installs – Gets more people to install an app.

  • Video views – Gets more people to view your video content.

  • Lead generation – Drives sales leads from people interested in your business.

  • Messages – Gets more people to send messages to your business.

Consideration ads are further down the sales funnel, so even though cost per click/engagement/video view may be more expensive, results are typically considered more valuable. These types of ads drive people to take certain actions regarding your brand. For example, if you have an informative new blog post to share with the world, a traffic ad will drive people to your website, establishing your brand as an industry thought leader. If you’re reading this post as a result of clicking an ad on Facebook, congrats! It was all part of our master plan. (Shameless plug: feel free to peruse our site and even sign up for our newsletter!)😊

Another consideration ad to ‘consider’ is engagement, which nets more likes, comments and shares on all the creative content you’re producing. More engagements will help your content show up higher in news feeds. BONUS: Engagement ads should also help produce organic engagements after your advertising budget has run its course. And the more people are engaged with your brand, the more likely they are to convert. Speaking of…

CONVERSION ADS:

  • Conversions – Drives valuable actions on your website or app, such as purchases.

  • Catalog sales – Promotes specific items from your catalog to your target audience.

  • Store visits – Prompts nearby Facebook users to visit your brick-and-mortar stores.

The final step of the funnel is conversions, which are meant to increase sales and improve your company’s bottom-line. These are arguably the most valuable ads since they can bring a monetary return to your business, but they’re also the most expensive, hence the need for sound strategy. Otherwise, you’re just wildly throwing your dollar bills at the Facebook ads machine. It will gobble them up in a hurry if you aren’t careful. And if you want to measure the success of conversion ads accurately, that involves installing tracking codes like the Facebook pixel and optimizing your website to track purchases — arduous tasks for one person to tackle alone.

All of this barely scratches the surface of what Facebook ads can do. From tracking ROI to creating the perfect custom audience, there’s A LOT to understand if you want your business performing at its best on social. Alternatively, you could call us! We’ve been doing this social media thing for a while now, and our team has the know-how to drive results. Send us an e-mail, or hit us up on Facebook. We’d love to chat.

How Candor Won a PR Daily Award

Christmas came early for Candor. In early December, PR Daily named our makeOKbetter campaign the best interactive storytelling campaign in the nation for 2016. I know what you’re thinking: “But what does ‘interactive storytelling’ even mean?” Honestly, it’s the new way to look at PR. With the rise of digital media, our services and capabilities as PR professionals keep growing. The makeOKbetter campaign wasn’t confined to just one medium. Instead, we dabbled in: social media advertising; email marketing; web design & management; infographics; high-quality, scripted video; and even live video shot directly from our phones. We coupled all of this with some tried-and-true PR methods, such as media pitching, press conferences and strategic op-ed pieces.

Here’s some background on our campaign, why it was necessary and what it took to win a PR Daily Content Marketing Award.

The History

During the 2016 legislative session, the Oklahoma Hospital Association faced a proposed 25 percent cut to Medicaid provider rates, which would have devastated hospitals across the state.

It was a complicated issue in the middle of a statewide budget crisis, but the OHA called Candor to create a strategy that would save hospitals and save lives.

Together, we launched the makeOKbetter campaign to ensure Oklahomans were aware of what was at stake, especially for 42 rural hospitals at risk of closing. We hoped to get rid of the 25 percent cut by urging hard-working Oklahomans to ask the Legislature to “take back” federal dollars to adequately fund health care.

We needed to pack a punch to make a difference, so we outlined three phases to highlight the campaign and tell our story across Oklahoma.

Phase One – “Educate & Inform”

These budget cuts were going to impact jobs, communities and families, so we needed the title to focus on a solution. We created the logo in-house using recognizable healthcare colors. On February 24, 2016, we publicly launched the campaign with an interactive landing page urging advocates to “join the movement.” We collected e-mail opt-ins and explained the issues and key messages. We stressed the idea of “a better future” for Oklahomans. The site received media coverage around the state and let stakeholders and elected officials know there would be an organized effort to make health care funding a top priority.

The landing page housed our first video, an animation explaining the proposed budget cut and its potential impact. We made it easy for hospitals to share the video, and also gave them posters, payroll stuffers, FAQs and social media posts they could share.

After optimizing the makeOKbetter social channels, we turned the animation video into paid ads and targeted an interested audience. We used Facebook and Twitter to display hard-hitting infographics explaining the budget crisis. The infographics cut to the core of our messaging:

• “Don’t let this happen to Oklahoma Hospitals”
• “Join the movement and take back our federal funds.”

By educating and informing our audience, we were ready to kick off ‘Phase Two.’

Phase Two – “Emotional Appeal”

On March 21, it was time to put numbers behind battle cries. We used video to tell the story of
the rural community of Sayre and what it meant to lose its hospital. It was fresh on the mind of its community members, so our video crew took to the streets, cafes and salons to hear how they had been affected.

That was just one town. One hospital. One community. Our audience was starting to understand the dire situation.

By the end of our campaign, the Sayre video totaled 237,105 views, reached 352,535 people and received 9,272 reactions, comments and shares.

We followed the video with opinion editorials, posting earned media hits to our social media channels and sharing media clips with key influencers. And then we were hit with a few wrinkles.

Phase Three – “Call to Action”

As the month went on, it became clear the Legislature was not going to take back federal health care funds, forcing advocates to devise a new strategy. Under the direction of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, makeOKbetter endorsed the Medicaid Rebalancing Act and a proposed cigarette tax.

Through new data and a compelling infographic, we grabbed media’s attention. We stressed the need for action, stating the proposed Medicaid cuts would mean as many as four out of every five Oklahoma hospitals would not deliver babies, nine out of 10 nursing homes would be forced to shut down and more than a dozen hospitals would close within the year. Polling found 74% of Oklahomans supported a cigarette tax increase to fix health care.

We launched a new video, stating “Oklahoma is on life support” and “health care is in crisis” to create a sense of urgency and desperation. We unveiled the video at a press conference alongside the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers. Multiple media outlets and health care professionals attended. We asked our audience: “What are you going to do to save Oklahoma health care?”

We supported the message with infographics, door hangers for Capitol offices and a coordinated op-ed campaign from hospital CEOs.

Some legislators said our campaign was crying wolf, so we asked health care administrators to stand up and say exactly what would happen to their hospitals, services and communities if the Legislature did not act. We edited highlights from each speaker and turned them into short videos to promote on Facebook. We targeted legislative districts with our new information through detailed social media ads, and we purchased ads in newspapers.

Finally, it was time to vote. In an unlikely turn of events, the Republicans supported the cigarette tax, while the Democrats were still holding out for an agreement to accept federal funds. The Legislature left the vote open until midnight, but ultimately, the cigarette tax turned to ash.

However, within days the Legislature removed the proposed Medicaid cuts and miraculously found money to avoid the health care crisis. The makeOKbetter campaign accomplished its original goal to preserve health care funding, and developed a foundation to continue to educate lawmakers next session.